TIP: Rebuild Your Computer
OK – so your computer is running
really slow. It takes 5 minutes to startup and 5 minutes
to shutdown. It takes 4 minutes to start Microsoft Word. And you
can take an afternoon nap when you start to log onto the internet!
You’ve done all the other supposedly necessary things like defrag
your hard drive, uninstalled all unused applications, deleted all
unnecessary files…and it still runs unbearably slow. It may be time
to rebuild your computer.
If you are a heavy computer user,
(and you probably are or you wouldn’t be reading this), your
computer needs a major rebuild every 2 or 3 years. Mine needed one
after just a year and a half. When I say “rebuild,”
I really mean reformatting your hard drive and starting from scratch
– reinstalling your operating system and reinstalling all your
applications. Ah – that is a daunting task!
You may decide to do this yourself, or
you may decide to take it to a technician and have them do it.
Whatever you decide, here are some tips on how to get this task
You are going to have to wipe out
everything on your computer so you need to back-up
all important data and information you don’t want to lose. I would
strongly suggest that you delete the partitions on your hard drive
and then fdisk your hard drive. You then will add a new partition
to hold your operating system, applications and data. (Note: by
fdisking and repartitioning my hard drive, I picked up several
megabytes of hard disk space that is usually reserved for
proprietary information not need on your computer).
Here are the other major considerations:
You need your original
Windows Operating System disk – whether you do it yourself or
take it to the shop. If you do not have it, look on your
computer case for a label called the Certificate of Authenticity
(COA) which has the product key number for your operating
system. Your technician will be able to install a new operating
system with that product key number.
Keep all disks
(CDs) or original software, like your Microsoft Office
installation CD. Your software cannot be moved from one
computer to another – you need original installation CDs to
reinstall all software.
If you use a lot of software that
you downloaded from the internet, keep the original
installation files and back them up. It will be a lot
easier for you if you have those installation files than going
out on the net and looking for them again.
Back up all data on
a CD or other storage device. Burn your data to a CD or invest
in a USB thumb drive – a big one if you have a lot of data.
If you don’t want to lose your
email, back up your email mailboxes. You can
find all your email boxes buried deep within your Local
Settings/Application Data/Identities/etc … folder. Search for
your mailboxes and back them up.
Back up your address book
– you don’t want to type in 300 email addresses into you address
book. This is a simple task – just Export (Address book) from
the File menu.
Back up your Favorites
from Internet Explorer. That also is easy to do – Use the
Export Wizard in the File menu in Internet Explorer.
You will need to reinstall your
Norton Antivirus (or whatever one you use). If
you installed your Norton online from the Symantec website (and
paid for it by credit card), hopefully, you have the original
Order Conformation email. I had mine – I logged onto the
Symantec website and using my order number, I did a new download
of Norton 2005 and reinstalled my Norton Antivirus. (I
purchased my Norton in January and when I reinstalled it last
weekend, they gave me a “complimentary” 365 day subscription –
that was very nice!).
You need to know the information
needed to get you back on-line with dialup or
with email. You need to know your email address, your user ID,
your password, and your incoming and outgoing server. You might
want to look in your account settings in Outlook or Outlook
Express and write down these settings (or you may have this
information from your ISP in hard copy somewhere).
If you would like to try these things on
your own, there are tons of websites that can take you through step
by step. Do a little research, and take it on!
Well, does this sound
overwhelming? If you have kept good records, if you
have not lost your important documents and CDs, and if you have
several hours of patience, it is remarkably easy. I had no trouble
rebuilding my computer – it now starts up in 15 seconds, goes into
standby in 4 seconds, opens up Word in 7 seconds and – alas –
shutdown in 12.5 seconds! How great is that?!